A university should be prepared for the challenges that have being happening. The university is faced with a complex situation, explains the Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2008), highlighting that increasing demands from society have arisen. The university has to be connected to life, internally or combined with the global scenery, says the Brazilian philosopher Renato Janine Ribeiro (2003), which assumes that we must listen to what society says and wants.
Feevale University was established in 1969 from an initiative of the community. Feevale is located in Novo Hamburgo in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. Novo Hamburgo city has arisen from the settlement of German immigrants in Vale do Sinos River. In the seventies, the growth in the footwear industry attracted thousands of migrants. Leather cluster and shoe manufacturing are still a considerable percentage of the local economy but the city hosts important footwear and accessory international fairs as well, positioning itself as a trend and a technological leader in this segment. Committed with the regional development and dedicated to educate citizens in different areas of knowledge, the University has brought cultural, educational, technological, economic and social development for the region.
Feevale has two campuses in Novo Hamburgo, and it is also provided with two extension Technological Parks. The University counts with approximately 16500 enrolled students, 574 Professors out of 1435 employees, 46 Continuous Extension Projects, 70 international partners in 21 countries. 25 Research Groups work in four different fields: Pure Sciences and Technology, Health Sciences, Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and Applied Social Sciences. Feevale covers all education levels: children’s education, elementary school, high school, professional education, 44 undergraduate programs and graduate studies, Masters and Doctorates degrees.
Knowledge to renew the World
This is the slogan of the University that has the mission to promote the production and the democratization of knowledge, contributing to the development of society. The Institution pursues to be a recognized university in knowledge production and in innovative entrepreneurship. According to its mission and attentive to the social needs for a privileged space for culture, to fulfill regional demands, hosting seminars, graduation ceremonies, plays, concerts and many other kinds of events, the project of a cultural area was conceived for.
Though, from the academic needs and the diffusion of artistic and cultural production in the region, a concert hall was built, named Feevale Theater:
Feevale Theater is a pride for all of us. We believe that the place will allow improvement in the cultural field, transforming the intellectual production of our University. After all, it is not possible to talk about education without speaking about culture, neither talk about culture without speaking about education, affirmed Rector Ramon Fernando da Cunha (Picoral, p. 15, 2011).
The project area covers 21,219.22 square meters. Besides the theater itself there is also a parking lot with 482 parking spaces and there is still a reserved area for a panoramic restaurant to be built.
The theater has 1,826 seats, excellent stage size and a variety of scenic equipment. It arises as the first largest theater in the State and the fourth largest theater in the country inside a university.
Feevale Theater was built inside Campus II of Feevale University next to a major highway of the state (RS239) in order to facilitate the public access.
Seeking to create conditions of accessibility to all citizens, including people with disabilities or reduced mobility, a “ring” was designed. This way, the audience is at the same level of the foyer and the stage, in order to ensure autonomy and independence to everyone: spectators and artists.
The visual programming was designed in a modular and bilingual system considering different situations.
The Opening and The Agenda
In September, 20th 2011, the Spanish tenor José Carreras performed at the theater, opening the new area of culture in Novo Hamburgo. The Theater has also host Rick Wakeman from the United Kingdom; the Celtic Legends from Ireland; Virsky – the National Ballet from Ukraine; Moscow – Circus on Ice among many others international, national and local artists as well.
Cooperation through Culture
The greatness of the project is impressive, but what we should consider is the potential for cultural actions that the concert hall can host. Transcending the conventional areas of education, approaching cultures through national and international performances, are some of the possibilities that we hope to multiply. Expanding the cultural agenda with artistic performances of the representatives from Feevale’s partners, as Finland, with a long tradition of excellence in the arts, would certainly be a highly enriching cooperation through the indelible bonds of culture.
Paula Casari Cundari, PhD, Journalist, Lawyer and Professor In the Social Communication College and Director of International Affairs of Feevale University, Brazil, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Picoral, Rosana (org.). Teatro Feevale – Porto Alegre: Palotti, 2011.
Ribeiro, Renato Janine. A Universidade e a Vida Atual. Campus: Rio de Janeiro, 2003.
Santos, Boaventura de Sousa; Almeida Filho, Naomar. A Universidade no século XXI: para uma universidade nova. Almedina: Coimbra, 2008.